When St. Vincent volleyball coach Darren Verseman stepped on the bus to travel to the Class 1, District 4 championship he was anxious.
“I don’t know why I was like that,” Verseman said. “I didn’t want to let the girls down. I wanted them to experience winning a district title again.”
The Indians did just that. The top seed Indians defeated second seed Oak Ridge in straight sets 25-20, 25-17, 29-27 at Brentwood High School. The win marked the third straight district title for the volleyball program.
“I felt like the scores were a lot closer than that,” Verseman said. “It felt like they were within like one or two points the entire time.”
Even though the first two sets went rather smoothly, Verseman did not want his girls to give in during the third set, a set that they trailed at times in the match.
“I was thinking that if Oak Ridge gets a taste and wins a set, we could be in for a long day,” he said. I credit the girls because when you go extra points in a set, anything can happen, but the girls hung on.”
Winning a district title never gets old for Verseman or his Indians squad.
“It’s been about keeping your eyes on the goal, and focused on where we have to go,” he said. “The regular season is important, but the goal is to be doing your best work at the end of the season, where it is win or go home.”
Emersyn Pitts led the Indians with 16 kills in the match, while Clara Clifton had seven kills.
Allison Bierk led the defense with 18 digs and Ella Clifton had 16.
The Indians (14-13-3) record may not be the best or most impressive, but Verseman preached the importance of getting better every day. The Indians went through a tough stretch where they lost four games in a row in the middle of September, winning just three sets in that period of time. St. Vincent got it together late winning six of their final eight games entering the district tournament.
“During all three of the district winning seasons, the girls always competed and you have to have that,” he said. “The key has to be their focus and level of competitiveness.”
St. Vincent will travel to Advance on Thursday in a Class 1 Sectional. The Hornets (31-3-3) defeated Leopold in their district championship game. Advance has ended the Indians’ season the previous two years and won the regular season meeting on Sept. 20.